Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Reflecting: 19 Months of Motherhood

James do you want to go outside?

n huh!  (vigorous nodding) 

Nodding is cute.  

These days we have conversations.  Somehow his toddler brain is beginning to comprehend that something can happen first and then the desired outcome will follow.  We get our shoes on first and then go outside, shoes are suddenly of utmost importance because they get us closer to dirt and puddles and birds.  Bear and paci after teeth brushing, snack after we get home, etc.  "Cookies tomorrow" didn't go over so big last night, but hey baby steps right? :)

Within the last week he has discovered books.  Obviously they've been a part of his life before, but from a James perspective their uses included, stacking, throwing, pulling off the shelf, and boredom.  Now he has a favorite that he can read to himself ("bebe," "happy") and I've been hard pressed to convince him that Winnie the Pooh is not actually a puppy.

Nursery is a problem.  We tested the waters in AZ before we left and he seemed fine, but I overconfidently threw him in the WA nursery with an unceremonious wave and he was returned an hour later a much sadder little man.  Now the mention of the "n" word or the sight of unfamiliar toys has him clinging like barnacle.  *sigh*  Go figure, he isn't exactly what I'd call a shy little boy, but I'm soaking in all the cuddling and it's pay back for the snuggle resistant year and half we had before.

He's a helper.  Happiest when doing whatever I'm doing.  Switching laundry, making trips to the garbage can, "chopping" vegetables, buckling things, "fixing" things with his "tools."

I'm building him a cardboard play kitchen in the hopes that it will deter him from "cooking" on mommy's stove.  We'll see how that duct tape holds up.

Bedtime has never been a big problem for James, every once and a while he will put up a royal fuss, or have a teething tantrum, but in a turn of events he has learned that asking for things can postpone sleeping.  "song?" "change?" "eat?" "clothes?" "hug?" "blanket?" "socks?"  Asking for a song just about melted the whole world until it was just me and James in a field of daisies, but I'm going to be strong tonight.  You should see my determined brow.

Nap time is over and I haven't re-read any of this to make it more fun to read, but I will just post it for the sake of recording these special times.

Mom's are awesome guys!  We are totally rocking this whole making, teaching, and loving kids thing!  High fives all around!

Friday, November 14, 2014

We're moving!? What!

So, that was sudden!  What could have possibly possessed us to leave this adorable house, incredible ward, great job, and irreplaceable friends and neighbors?  We wondered the same thing for a while.  Call it a quarter life crisis, finding mojo, a new adventure, your pick.  Austin has discovered a passion for finance and we accepted a job as an account executive with Fisher Investments in Camas Washington.  Most of his family is right around the corner in Hawkinson and Federal Way.

We will miss everyone here more than we like to think about.  We planned to be here forever which means I let my heart get pretty attached.  To all the people who helped us pack, clean, and babysit, you are amazing.  Thanks for being my family away from family.

I did some growing up this year.  I feel a little wiser than I was when we arrived.  Not in a braggy way, but motherhood has tempered me a tad.  I'm learning to pace myself so there is still energy left at the end of the day.  Emphasis on learning

Speaking of bragging.  You know who else has changed this year? My husband.  The man I married was not as patient, diligent, tender, or attractive as the one I have by my side now.  He is really something.  He keeps rising to each challenge we are given.  When our family is presented with a dilemma these days he leads us straight to the source of wisdom and we receive peace.  

Happily, we are still attached at TruForce.  Austin will be working from Washington as a consultant for them; definitely one of the best silver linings that came in this roller coaster ride.  Austin works with such awesome people there it would have been tragic to leave that completely. 

There are so many exciting things to write about, but James is waking up from his nap, but here's a list: 

Our house in AZ already sold
Austin's sister Shawn is getting married this month
My mom is in France with her mom and cousin to celebrate her 50th birthday
James' little bro is healthy and growing
Washington is gorgeous
James is learning new words every day (doctor, ouch, dark, thank you, darn (that's my fault, I guess I say that more than I realized), prayer, scriptures, bath, bird, truck, etc)
My Beehives in Cortina are amazing
The people we are leaving left a deep lasting impression
Christ is our Savior and he brings comfort
God is in the details

We can do hard things

Thanks for the adventure. Now it's off to another one!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Be Bored, Not Boring

Boredom is important.  

This is a recent discovery of mine.  When I say boredom I'm talking about free mind time.  My body can be moving and engaged, but my mind is free to think.  

Even the busiest of people usually have at least a shower, car drive, and potty break for some good old fashioned thinking. If you anything like me, we get some of our best ideas at these times. 

However, I've noticed that my smart phone is starting to make my own personal think time boring by comparison.  I've started filling up as much of my down time as possible with the far more entertaining world my device opens up to me.  That time right before bed, while doing the dishes, James' nap time, at the park, during solo meals.  Times when my mind used to be free to wander and wonder.  Some of the time I'm consuming enriching, uplifting things, but let's be honest, most of it is simply passing time, infusing my mundane thoughts with cheap entertainment.  

If my own mind has become boring then perhaps it's time to eliminate the things preventing me from being an original and exciting thinker. When I was a little girl I used to run barefoot out to the backyard and sit in a corner of the yard and watch the grass grow.  At least I thought that is what I was doing.  If you watch a patch of grass intently you'll notice that the blades shift and move in random flicking motions.  I'm now more convinced that it's actually little insects burrowing or traveling through the grass that causes the "growing" movement I observed.  Little-girl-Tikla would watch the grass and let my imagination take me from grass to tiny mushroom-people villages, the new girl in class, how the pattern of bricks in the wall was created, to what would be sticky enough to attach a loft to my bedroom ceiling.  

Now I probably don't need to revisit the mushroom village or stare at the grass for extended periods of time, but I think little me can teach grown up me a lesson.  I need to relearn how to be entertained by my own thoughts. 

I first, I might have to opt for the more tedious route.  Journal writing, pondering, meditating, real studying and questioning actually take more work than pulling up a youtube clip, or flicking through endless facebook posts.  But, maybe, just maybe, if I keep it up, my mind will become an exciting place again.  Fraught with peril, loaded with truths, and maybe the occasional village of mushroom people.  

Here is the challenge I'm giving myself, you're welcome to join me. 

The Quiet Car Challenge: no music or radio. Conference talks and audio books are allowed, but at least sometimes, especially if I'm James-less just silence.  

TMI Alert! No Phone While you Go: it's pretty gross anyway so keep the electronics out of the bathroom.  

Charge in the Bedroom: I read, love, and sleep in that room, no bright screens are required.  My phone can charge while I get charged!

There we go.  Not too overwhelming!  Go be awesome my friends!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Reflecting: Almost 18 Months of Motherhood

A new regular happening: I'm playing/feeding/scolding/loving James and I hear a baby sound, probably coming from outside or my imagination, and I subconsciously assume it's time to go get my other baby up from a nap...wait, what baby? It's just me and James!  Perhaps my subconscious is aware of just how unprepared I feel for baby boy #2 and is trying to ease me into motherhood x2.  I'll be honest, after days of table climbing, 4 outfit changes, messes made while I clean others, I begin to doubt how I'll ever have the energy or patience.  Then James wraps his chubby arms around my neck, puckers his ever so squishy lips and plants them on my face.  It's going to be okay.

I find it interesting, if I need to accomplish an impossible number of tasks in a day James is hard.  When our plans include leisurely meals, a trip to the park, and some lego time, he is an angel child!  Is this a cruel trick of Murphy's Law?  No, James isn't the one who changes.  Many of the exasperating stunts he pulls in the middle of crunch time would be down right adorable, camera worthy, and impressive in a moment when he had my undivided focus.  I mean come on, balancing on the edge of the guest bed with a picture frame in each hand and a mouth full of crayons?  That could be a circus act right there.  Or what about the push a chair to the counter to reach bowl of cold soup leftover from lunch trick?  A stroke of genius!

And I guess I can mention, it's harder to chase down that little monkey while perpetually carrying his little brother...I guess that's a given, but I forget these obvious details until I'm at their mercy.

Thought jump.

Did you know that toast is a great way to teach patience?  It is.  I didn't even do it on purpose.  James loves toast (who doesn't?)  but in order to make toast there is some waiting involved.  The first several times were pretty difficult for my little man.  He'd wail and protest the injustice of waiting for the blessed "POP."  Then slowly he started to understand.  Bread goes in, you wait a while, and toast comes out.  Now he tells me to wait for the "POP" and then listens intently.  Without fail, "POP!" "TOOS!"

This concept carries into other things too.  I've caught myself telling him to wait for other things to "POP."  It's a patience cue. The ability to wait is a skill we develop, not one that comes naturally.  There are a few things in my life I'm waiting for.  Big things.  I guess James and I are learning together.

I'll let you know when the toast pops.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

It's A Boy!

We are going to be a family of 4 in early Spring!  Ladies and Gents: It's a boy!

We are pretty stinkin' excited about it!

One boy is fun, but TWO little brother buddies!  I mean, come on. 

He is joining our family in March and we love him so much already!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Reflecting: 16 Months of Motherhood

Timeout: I want to take a moment to reflect on watching fatherhood.  Today Austin initiated a tough-love-lets-be-reverent-in sacrament-meeting program for James.  It was the most attractive and manly thing I've ever seen in my life.  If James wanted to play quietly with toys, sit on mommy's lap, or flirt with the girls next to us he could stay in the chapel.  If he wanted to go and fold his arms in a boring old chair all he had to do was throw blocks at the sweet old lady in front of us, escape the pew and make for the hills, or scream.  I sat in awe, as Austin consistently enforced the new rule.  By the end of the meeting all James really learned was going to the foyer is the pits, but that is good enough for me.  Didn't I score an amazing man?  I tell ya.

Now back to motherhood.

James made himself dizzy yesterday by spinning in circles on the living room carpet.

Sometimes he starts turning circles when he knows it's time for bed and he's stalling.   It's cute, and he knows I can't help but stop to watch.

These are sweet, sweet days.  I will miss every phase we've been through, but Austin says this is the one he will miss the most.  In the same breath, it is a sweet, sweet moment when the baby monitor stops mumbling and a great hush falls over the house.

Mister Independent no longer needs mommy and daddy.  Or so it appears, since he has no problem sneaking all the way to the other side of the church building, or outside the grocery store doors toward the street, or all the way to the other end of the park with no concern about whether we are following or not.  We thought we'd test his limit.  See just how far he would go before discovering he was lost or missing his ever loving parents.  He didn't have one.  We hit our limit first, namely the street or the pulpit of the other wards sacrament meeting.

Oh, and this little dude is really starting to communicate with us!  Which brings wonders and terrors.  His most common requests are for "da da" (daddy) "ow-side" (outside) "mumumumumumumumumum" (yup that's me) "soos" (shoes) "ee" (eat) and "go."

I guess "shoes" and "go" mean about the same thing, one just follows the other.  The excitement when those little green sandals come out is uncontainable.

The cutest thing of all: his discovery that he can be funny.  And he LOVES it.  Funny faces, dances, stomping in place, if we laugh once it will happen again and again.  The best one was at the park the other day when he was exploring the field.  Austin and I were being boring parents on the bench and James looks over at us, waves, and calls out "bye bye."  We lost it.  Whether he knew it was funny to begin with, or made the discovery from our heaving laughter, he kept up the schtick as long as we kept laughing.  Turning around to say "bye bye" giggle and then start walking away as though he were off to bigger and better things.

He loves to "help" with chores.  If we are in the garage the first thing he goes for the is rake.  It's dragged behind him until it gets stuck on something followed by cries for freedom.  The kitchen broom is a wonder too apparently, along with the squeegee in the shower, the toilet brush in the bathroom, and the lint trap in the laundry room.  That about covers all the rooms right? :)

Apparently ears make great handles
As for me.  I've had some interesting and embarrassing feelings of downer comparison and doubt.  They don't last long, just enough to remind me simple joys don't always come naturally and some bliss must be captured and savored before it floats away.  It helps to be in the moment.  Breathe in James' energy, drown in his blue eyes, and melt in his soft, squishy skin.  I'm happiest when I recognize that fussy days, and the throw-all-the-food-on-the-floor game mean he is learning things.

So am I.

Favorite foods:
"tooos" (toast)
"bla" (milk, go figure there)
"aap" (whole apples, he can down them all the way to the core)

Monday, September 8, 2014

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


This blog isn't usually for promoting things.  But I have a shout out to make.  For my birthday Tori was a cutie and sent me a "gift card" through GiftRocket and I think the concept is genius.

She was able to send me a customized little happy thought, a suggestion for where I should spend it, and then when I claimed my gift, it was transferred right in to my bank account (I could have had is sent as a check, paypal, or put on my credit card too.)  Anyway, like I said, I don't usually promote stuff, but it was so convenient I will probably never give an actual gift card again.

That's all.

Have a Happy Tuesday!

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Good Part About Bad Dreams

Nightmare last night.

I was chased, tricked, and in hiding.  I misplaced my baby.  Most of it's foggy by now, but I know at some point I realized it was a dream and it was going to be okay, I could ride it out until morning and waking up would be a happy ending.  I woke to James gabbing loudly to his stuffed bear and Austin's half smooshed sleeping face.

Waking up is usually hard.  As a mom I no longer wake up on my terms.  Waking up is dictated.  This morning was different.  I couldn't wait to get up and kiss my husband's morning breath and my baby's tousled hair.  Today waking up was a happy ending to a story I escaped.

I remember as a little girl knocking on my parents door in the middle of the night seeking comfort from bad dreams.  Dad usually woke first.  He was a lighter sleeper.  Comfort from dad often came like this, "Isn't it great that when you wake up your life is better than the nightmare?  Some people sleep and have dreams only to wake up to a very sad life.  Aren't you happy your life is better than bad dreams?"

Granted I've had my edible-rainbow and ability-to-fly dreams that were a little bit of a downer to wake from.  I can't bounce on clouds because they are made of water vapor?  Come on real life!  That's no fun!   But, all in all, I'm a pretty lucky gal.

Now, how can I use my life to make someone else's a little more bounce-on-the-clouds and a little less chased, tricked, and in hiding?  

Monday, August 4, 2014

Why Are You Not Awesome Yet?

I had a moment today.  

I was glorying in the accomplishments and beauty of people I love.  Just basking in the good in the world.  My thoughts drifted to all the swanky ideas I'm planning for my day, week, life. 

and then, 
out of the sneaky corners of my mind come the thoughts.  Those seemingly harmless notions that say, "why the heck are you still not awesome?"  You have all these plans, but look at you.  Blog scrolling, dreaming, even planning, but you're house is a mess, your meals are sub par, your current money making schemes are profiting zero, and you still don't like green smoothies.  Why aren't you there yet?  

Does your brain do this to you too?

What is the deal!  Here we are minding our own buisness and becoming a little better every day and then the demotivating whispers of comparison and self doubt come thudding in, tramatizing dreams and giving our pie in the sky plans postpartum.  It's just not nice! 

So to anyone else having a "why-are-you-not-awesome-yet" kind of day, week, life.  Here is the message:

We have accomplished SO MUCH!  Remember that time when you didn't know how to do that thing you really love now?  Remember when you were failing, but you stuck it out and now you know stuff?  ME TOO!  Let's keep doing that.  

(in case it wasn't clear, this is a choose your own adventure kind of pep talk.)  

Happy Monday!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

There is No Wrong Way to Have a Baby

I had a natural, home birth for my first baby.  I can feel the tension in the air even as I type that.  Keep reading!  We crunchy natural-birthing mammas have gained a merited reputation for trampling all other methods in a loud stampede of medical-bashing-water-birthing-doula-hyping self righteousness.  So, I feel the need to state the obvious.  There is no wrong way to have a baby!

We are all different.  Wow, I know, that's not exactly the most original idea, but hear me out.  Every potential mother has a completely different view on the role of medicine, a wildly oscillating confidence level in doctors, and differing comfort level in a home or hospital setting.  Not to mention each father-to-be brings a whole host of expectations, desires, and opinions.  This combination of needs alone means there can't possibly be a single method that trumps all others every time. 

Add to the mix the complexities of varying physical and mental factors.  I was talking to a neighbor just the other day about her birthing experiences.  Her hips don't widen far enough to release her babies.  If she were a pioneer giving birth she would have died!  C-sections have been the gift that made it possible for her to be a living mother to three beautiful daughters.   

I have another friend who is completely open to the idea of natural birthing.  However, out of love and respect for her husband, she hasn't seriously entertained the idea.  His stress level associated with watching his wife in pain and slight OCD tendencies are strong enough that her interest in having him as a present, loving, comfortable supporter of the birthing experience outweighs her desire to go unmedicated.

The process of conception, pregnancy, and life are all MIRACLES.  Each one is impossible to understand.  The hours that span the time when a baby transitions from complete dependence on his mother's body to the open air, beauty, and struggles of life on this earth are a miracle, how ever that magic happens.  The far more impactful moments will happen as life continues.  What will that child be taught?  Will he be loved?  Will he know that he is wonderful? 

I haven't shared my birth story on this blog because it was amazing.  Not every birth is as peaceful as mine was.  I felt prepared, educated, in control.  Part of that came from my efforts, but most of it was chance.  A healthy baby to a healthy mommy who inherited good birthing hips, no complications, no transport.  That was mainly dumb luck.   I guess I kind of want to share that story. With this preface maybe I'll feel safe to.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Reflecting: Almost 15 Months of Motherhood

"James can you go get your toothbrush and bring it to mommy?"  2 minutes later it's in my hand. 


Can we just take a moment to bask in the glory of this accomplishment.  James heard the question, broke down both parts: go get and bring back.  Made the connection between the word toothbrush and his actual little ABC green toothbrush.  Not only that, he decided to obey the request and actually retrieved the item and brought it to me.  

Our brains are amazing!  How does this happen?  He is learning rapid fire these day.  Really that has been going on since the first moments he entered this world, probably even before then, but lately there is a new discovery or accomplishment every day!  

I love watching his little tongue and lips struggling to mimic words: toast (ta, tut, toos, then finally tooost.)  

Now for the past week he has been super sick.  There was a point where I wanted to cry because my darling little fireball was so listless and miserable.  I learned that a snugly baby has just as many pros and cons as an crazy-get-into-everything baby.  In fact, I do believe being sick has taught him what snuggling is!  Because you'd better believe he did NOT knew what it was before.  I'm even hopeful that he might remember what it's like to sit through a whole picture book.  I won't get my hopes up though.  

Today my happy boy is back in action!  

Maybe we will go to the splash pad today.  Or color some pictures, maybe a library trip?  My world is changing guys.  I'm starting to keep my eyes open for free kids adventures and dress up for free food stuff.  Every phase of this parenting thing has been so hard and so fun.  I'm so grateful for the ride! 

Oh look everyone!